Are you making the right decisions to create career fulfilment?

Studies and interviews across the globe with company small and large in different sectors point to the fact that employees come to work looking for far more than their monthly salary. They want to feel connected to the vision and mission of the company and feel a sense of purpose in what they do and know that there are opportunities to develop with a clear path showing them the way to create career fulfilment.

However, employees in many cases take the route that is determined by external expectations or false beliefs and later on find themselves confused and loose the energy and drive at work. For instance, you might think that becoming the manager is the secret to fulfillment or that you can achieve success by fixing your weaknesses.

In reality, transformative, meaningful career development centers on who you are. Your innate talents. That kind of work that gives you energy.

Trying to copy other people’s success or definition of success won’t improve your career or help you find meaning in your work. In fact, it can lead to disengagement and what is eventually heard from employees which is “I hate my job.”

So, how can you ensure your career path leads to meaningful career fulfillment? Research has uncovered three tactics:

1. Spend a disproportionate time focusing on what makes you feel strong
People experience meaningful career growth when they consider what they find enjoyable rather than focusing on getting certain job titles or go up the ladder of hierarchy at work.

You are likely to have a more fulfilling career when you align your innate talents with your daily work. It is evident that if you know the innate talents that drive your energy and edge at work and apply them every day, you’ll have higher confidence and more likely to achieve your goals and will develop more as an individual.

You can start by asking yourself what aspects of your work give you the most (and least) energy. Reflect on why the energizing tasks and conversations come so naturally to you and why they energize you. Rather than focusing on fixing areas of weakness, consider how you can lean into your strengths to accomplish the work you’d rather avoid or how you might collaborate with a partner with complimentary talents and experience. Then, consider how you can do more of that every day and how to strengthen it over time.

Here’s an example: In the last week, did you feel strong from crossing something off your to-do list? That sense of fulfillment from accomplishing tasks is unique to an innate talent that is driven by finishing what they set out to do. Not everyone gets energy from that. Others are uniquely motivated by the opportunity to create and expand ways to do something better or see the risks in doing something or forming deep and long term relationships.

2. Be proactive in your development
Discovering your innate talents is just the beginning. The real work starts when you find ways to apply and cultivate them. That doesn’t mean you have to wait for someone to develop you, quiet the opposite, you must make developing your talents the top priority in order to experience great career fulfilment. Those who grow most become focused on developing their unique talents rather than going on training programs that treat all individuals as the same.

Consistently look for elements of your role that put lifts you up and makes you feel strong. Determine why those aspects of your work feel this way. What innate talents do they bring out in you? Wherever possible, replicate those moments or challenge yourself to explore them in new ways. That might mean raising your hand for a new type of project or volunteering outside the organization.

3. Talk to your manager actively and effectively
Employees who strongly agree they have had conversations with their manager in the past six months about their goals and successes are almost three times more likely to be engaged. And ongoing dialogue such as brief connections or checking in on where you’re at create a perfect setting to set expectations, review successes and recalibrate priorities.

During these conversations with your manager, ask for feedback. This is a surprisingly powerful approach to self-development that can contribute to meaningful performance development. Look for opportunities to discuss your developmental goals and elements of your work that have allowed your strengths to shine.
You might think that your “dream job” is a specific title or career advancements up the corporate hierarchy. But employees find the most meaningful career fulfillment not by asking, “What job should I have?” but by asking, “What talents do I have?” Only then can you find work that allows you to do what you do best, feel energized and develop your full potential.